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Indoor track to receive makeover

BY COURTNEY BAUMANN | MARCH 25, 2015 5:00 AM

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After the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships wrap up in Portland, Oregon, the Iowa track and field indoor facility will get a huge makeover.

A 200-meter banked track designed for the international meet will be installed in the Recreation Building for the Hawkeyes for a price of $2.6 million — the original price was $4 million.

“The new track is absolutely going to be a game changer,” assistant head coach Clive Roberts said.

“From getting us recruits to hosting meets to really changing maybe the perception of track and field within our community,”

Banked tracks are built with raised, sloped turns and affect the centrifugal force created by the runners. While running on a banked track, the athletes do not have to push off as hard with their outside foot in order to redirect their momentum. This allows for the runners to maintain or even increase their speed around turns, leading to faster races.

Additionally, the risk of injury to the athletes is reduced on a banked track. Runners do not have to abruptly slow themselves in order to make the tighter turns a flat track has. 

“On a flat track, the kids are coming so fast around the curve, and they have to put a stop to it abruptly that creates some shock and stress in the body,” Roberts said. “It’s just like driving a car. If you can come off of a bank, then it’ll be easier to make those turns as opposed to something flat.”

Director of Track and Field Joey Woody got approval from the state Board of Regents for the purchase of the world-class track. In order to buy it for the World Championships, those in charge had to quickly sell it, Woody said. In order to guarantee the purchase, Iowa had to get a contract in place by Feb. 13 or risk the possibility of its being sold to another program.

Iowa practices and hosts its indoor home meets on a flat track in the Recreation Building, but has thus far been unable to attract elite teams to compete in its meets because of the low quality of the track. However, with the new track, that could completely change.

Members of the track and field program believe the track will bring in top-notch competition to meets, allowing the team to compete at home more and not have to travel as much.

“Running in front of a home crowd is always a plus, and having a great track will bring more elite competition,” MonTayla Holder said. “For us, it’s a win-win. We’ll get to compete at home more, not have to travel as much, and we’ll get to have great competition.”

Although Holder, a junior and a key member of the team, will not get the chance to compete on the new track, coaches are hopeful that the facility will attract top-level recruits to replace runners such as Holder.

“We’re going to have one of the best facilities in the country,” Woody said. “It’ll allow us to recruit higher-end athletes who want to have access to a facility like that to be able to train on every day.” 

Follow @cbomb12 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa track and field team.


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